x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Top spots for Gulf airlines at Skytrax awards

Qatar Airways beat four Asian carriers to win airline of the year award at the Skytrax awards.

Gulf airlines climbed higher in global customer rankings as Qatar Airways won the Skytrax award for the world's best airline, and Etihad Airways took top honours for first-class cabins.

Emirates Airline again dominated the in-flight entertainment category at the awards, which is based on votes from more than 18 million airline passengers from 100 countries.

Gulf carriers have made huge investments in luxury onboard trimmings to lure passengers away from European and Asian rivals, building entire structures to wine and dine premium passengers waiting for transit flights and even creating on-board showers, in the case of Emirates' A380 aircraft.

This year Oman Air joined the club of award-winning regional airlines. Omar Air recently underwent a major upgrade and walked away with top business-class cabins at the awards show in Paris on Wednesday night.

Qatar Airways moved up from third spot last year to claim top honours against four luxury Asian carriers, Singapore Airlines, Asiana, Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways. It also won best Middle East airline for the sixth consecutive year.

Edward Plaisted, the chief executive of Skytrax, said the award "reflects opinions of passengers around the world, and is based on every customer type".

For the second year running, Etihad was voted sixth-best airline in the world, best first-class cabin and best first-class catering. "It's great to see investments paying back and leading us to success," said Peter Baumgartner, the chief commercial officer at Etihad.

"To regain both awards for world's best first-class cabin and best first-class catering is a tribute to the quality of product," Mr Plaisted said.

igale@thenational.ae